South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has applauded China’s decision to refrain from jumping onto the Western-led travel ban bandwagon against travellers from some southern African countries in the aftermath of the discovery of a new Covid-19 variant in the region.Speaking during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) hosted by Senegal on Monday, Ramaphosa castigated the West’s reaction to the emergence of the Covid-19 Omicron variant which has resulted in widespread bans of flights to and from some southern African countries.
“We need to resist unjustified and unscientific travel restrictions that only serve to further disadvantage developing countries,” Ramaphosa said.
He added: “We wish to thank the People’s Republic of China for its unwavering support for Africa since the onset of the pandemic. We are confident we can continue to count on China’s support in the continental vaccine acquisition drive.”
Ramaphosa emphasised that humanity was reaching a point where it must show solidarity in fighting Covid-19, and warned that failure to do so threatened to increase the gap between rich and poor countries.
“At this moment in humankind’s history, we must demonstrate our determination to leave no country behind. Covid-19 has forced us to confront global inequality,” he said.
The South African leader said the world has been “galvanised into action against a world order where a country’s wealth is the difference between sickness and health, (and) between life and death.”
“Unless every country is able to meet its national aspirations, the gulf between developed and developing economies will only widen.”